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Israel’s top court will hear challenges to a law that weakens its power, escalating political crisis



JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s highest court said Wednesday it will hear legal challenges to a divisive new law that weakens its power, putting the country’s top justices in the position of defending their own independence and escalating a political crisis that has unleashed the country’s biggest protests in history.

Israeli civil society groups and others filed petitions asking the Supreme Court to strike down the law enacted Monday — the first major piece of legislation in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s broader plan to overhaul Israel’s judiciary.

The opposition’s legal challenges are pushing Israel toward a showdown over the foundations of its system of government.

The court faces massive public pressure to strike down the law and has an inherent interest in preserving its powers and independence. But if it does so, Netanyahu’s government could ignore the ruling, setting the stage for a crisis over who has ultimate authority.

“If there is no judicial review, it means the Knesset has total power,” said Amir Fuchs, senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, a Jerusalem think tank.

Critics of the overhaul describe it as a blow to democracy, arguing that Israel’s judiciary represents the primary check on the powers of the prime minister and his majority coalition in parliament.

Read more.


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